- The drawings from the office of Sir John Soane
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Building works on Lothbury Street and the northern end of Princes Street were affected by unforseen delays, as negotiations for properties faltered when tenants refused to quit their leases. In May of 1803, eight houses were still occupied on Princes and Lothbury Streets and as late as January 1805, two houses were still not yet acquired and were hindering building work. Finally, the last property was acquired. Because of these delays, the wall on Princes Street was only built in part, reaching to the 'blind portico' in 1805, some 65 feet from the north-west corner. In 1807 the wall was joined with the corner of Lothbury Street.
On Lothbury Street, the existing street front (built 1797) was essentially doubled. Soane intended to have a prominent porticoed frontispiece in the middle, to be aligned with one of the avenues in George Dance's intended City of London development plan (see scheme 3:3). This feature was approved in November 1802 but was never executed. Instead, a smaller projection was designed in 1805 and built on the finished wall.
The screen wall on Princes Street followed a different design. Joining with the existing Robert Taylor screen wall (1780s), the Princes Street front had an entrance gate and a
'blind portico' feature. As in the Lothbury Screen wall (2:5), a rampart walk was included behind the parapet. Designs for the wall suggested some alterations to the Taylor wall, but these were never executed.
Aside from the attics, the screen walls on Princes and Lothbury Streets still exist today. They were integrated with the new street fronts built by Soane in 1825-8. The Princes Street entrance was bricked up by C.R. Cockerell, Bank architect from 1833 to 1855.
Madeleine Helmer, 2011
Literature: W. Marston Acres, The Bank of England from within, 1931, pp. 398-402; D. Abramson, Building the Bank of England, 2005, p. 200.
Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.
Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).
Contents of Screen walls on Princes and Lothbury Streets, 1803-1807 (21)
- Variant designs for the Princes Street screen wall with a domed entrance, May and June 1803 (2)
- Variant designs for the Princes Street screen wall with a pedimented entrance (2)
- Design for the Princes Street screen wall with two blind porticos and a pedimented entrance, one dated 25 June 1803 (2)
- Alternative design for a blind portico on the Princes Street screen wall
- Working drawing for pedestal, 2 October 1804
- Presentation drawings of the Princes Street screen wall, possibly for exhibition, with two blind porticos and a pedimented entrance, one dated 30 July 1805 (2)
- Presentation drawing showing the screen wall as (partially) built in 1805
- Survey drawing of the attic over the Princes Street entrance, after 1816
- Presentation drawing for the Lothbury Street screen wall with an eight-columned domed temple frontispiece, probably November 1802
- Designs for blind Tivoli windows on Lothbury and Princes Street, April 1805 (3)
- Designs and presentation drawing for the diminished frontispiece on Lothbury Street, March and July 1805 (3)
- Design for railing, 29 June 1805
- Royal Academy exhibition drawing showing Tivoli Corner as built and the screen wall niches containing figurative statues, 1807